The Superior High School boys hockey team was awarded the No. 1 seed for the upcoming WIAA playoffs and will now tune up for the postseason by playing some of its toughest competition of the season.
The Spartans (15-4), who will play the winner of No. 9 Barron and No. 8 Menomonie in their playoff opener Feb. 14; host the top-ranked teams from Minnesota and Wisconsin this week (Hermantown and Northland Pines); play at Eau Claire Memorial on Saturday, Feb. 9; then wrap up the regular season at Duluth East on Monday, Feb. 11.
The Spartans host Hermantown on Tuesday, Feb. 5, and Northland Pines on Thursday, Feb. 7. Both games begin at 7 p.m.
Hermantown (15-3-1) comes to Wessman Arena ranked No. 1 among small schools in Minnesota and riding a five-game winning streak, which includes at 2-1 OT win over Mahtomedi on Saturday, Feb. 2.
Superior is 26-35-3 all-time against Hermantown with the Hawks winning the last four games. The Spartans’ last win was 5-4 on Jan. 15, 2013.
The Spartans are 10-1 all-time against Northland Pines, which is 19-2 and ranked No. 1 in Wisconsin.
Superior won the last meeting, 2-1, in a 2004 state semifinal game. The Eagles’ only win over Superior was 6-1 in the 1986 state championship game.
Northland Pines has outscored its opponents 51-6 during an eight-game win streak. The streak includes four straight shutouts, including a 4-0 win over University School of Milwaukee, which was ranked No. 1 at the time.
The Eagles' record also includes a 5-2 win over Eau Claire North and losses to Wausau West (4-3) and Waukesha (3-2).
The week ends at Eau Claire Memorial (12-6-2) at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 9, then the regular season ends against Duluth East (13-6-2) at 5:15 p.m. Monday, Feb. 11, at the Heritage Center.
Superior is 30-19-2 all-time against ECM and snapped an eight-game winless skid against the Old Abes with a 6-2 win in the third-place game of the ECM Red Flint Tournament on Nov. 24.
Duluth East leads the all-time series with Superior 57-15-1. The Spartans’ last win over the Greyhounds was 5-2 during the 2003-04 season. Prior to that win, Superior’s last victory was 2-1 on Erik Raygor’s overtime goal in 1991.
SPARTAN SPIN: Tuesday is youth night with all youth hockey players wearing their game jerseys getting in free. There will also be Mini-Mite games between periods. … Thursday is “Red the Rink” night. The senior project for team manager Rachel Jackman will raise money for the American Heart Association. Thursday is also Senior Night, with seniors and their parents being honored between the first and second periods. … The sectional final are scheduled for 2 p.m. Feb. 23 at Wessman Arena.
WIAA Boys Hockey Tournament
Tuesday, Feb. 12
No. 9 Barron Co-op at No. 8 Menomonie, 7 p.m.
No. 10 Grantsburg at No. 7 Somerset, 7 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 14
Barron-Men. winner at No. 1 Superior, 7 p.m.
No. 5 River Falls at No. 4 New Richmond, 7 p.m.
No. 6 Amery at No. 3 Baldwin-Woodville, 7 p.m.
Somerset-Grantsburg winner at No. 2 Hudson
Tuesday, Feb. 19
TBD vs. TBD
Saturday, Feb. 23
at Wessman Arena
Semifinal winners, 2 p.m.